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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Celebrity Solstice Named Best New Cruise Ship for 2008 by Cruise Traveler Magazine

Celebrity Solstice Named Best New Cruise Ship for 2008 by Cruise Reviews Online.

Celebrity Solstice, Celebrity's Cruises new $750 million, 122,000-ton, 15 deck, 1,426 stateroom, 2,850-passenger cruise ship, is a huge success even though it welcomes guests embarking on the ship's maiden voyage just this week.

Celebrity Cruises offers a comfortably sophisticated, upscale cruise experience themed to incorporate the four elements of nature - earth, air, light and water.The ship features highly personalized service, exceptional dining, and extraordinary attention to detail. Celebrity took 8,000 members of the travel agency community, press and other dignitaries on a series of two-night preview cruises last week and just about everyone, including us, came away impressed with Celebrity Solstice extraordinary service, design, dining and entertainment onboard. Thus, meeting all the expectations and goals set for her. This cruise ship is unique and unlike anything we've seen . So, we have named the Celebrity Solstice our Best New Cruise Ship for 2008!

"The "wow" factor: Some have it; others don't. And I'm not talking about fashionable celebrities here. Well, yes I am. Celebrity Cruises, that is. As a veteran of more than 50 cruises, I'm not easily dazzled. But one spin around the decks of the 122,000-ton, 2,850-passenger Celebrity Solstice had me saying 'wow.'" - Harry Shattuck, Houston Chronicle

Celebrity Solstice presents 7-night Eastern Caribbean cruises roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale until April 2009, with visits to San Juan, St. Maarten, Tortola, Haiti, and St. Kitts, depending on the itinerary. Celebrity Solstice sets sail on a transatlantic voyage from Fort Lauderdale April 19, 2009, ending in Rome, where the ship will offer a series of roundtrip 10- and 11- night Eastern Mediterranean sailings.

Let's Meet The Ship
As you stroll among the expansive decks, you can't help admiring the rich color palettes illuminated by beautiful natural light, and revel in the extensive amenities - all delivered with the attentive service for which Celebrity Cruises is renowned. Celebrity Solstice offers a refined level of elegance and an experience making a distinctive statement of style and design. Gone are the fussy, gilded details of yore and in its place is a clean, sleek look that features a neutral color palette and plenty of warm natural light.

Want to view an interactive presentation? Visit: http://celebritysolstice.com/

"With its innovative, half-acre Lawn Club with real, growing grass; the Hot Glass Show offered through our alliance with The Corning Museum of Glass; 10 widely varied restaurants, including four in the specialty category; stylish, spacious staterooms whose design was influenced by a panel of five women with unique travel and hospitality insights; and, of course, the intangible attribute found on every Celebrity ship – extraordinary service – Celebrity Solstice is the perfect manifestation of what the Celebrity brand is all about," said Celebrity's President & CEO Dan Hanrahan. "There also is the intangible attribute which is consistent across the Celebrity fleet, and that's the extraordinary, anticipatory service our phenomenal staff offer our guests every day," added Hanrahan.

Among the wealth of attributes guests will find only on Celebrity Solstice are:

•A half-acre Lawn Club, a lush, half-acre recreation area with real, growing grass. features an onboard bocce, picnic and putting area.
•The Hot Glass Show, with live glassblowing demonstrations presented in association with The Corning Museum of Glass.
•Larger staterooms, with design inspirations offered by a panel of five women, hand-picked for their unique travel and hospitality insights. Among the design features: more storage space above and below the bed, double doors that opened up to an adjoining stateroom ( great for families ), and footrests in the showers for shaving legs.
•10 varied restaurants, ranging from the dramatic, two-level “Grand Epernay” main dining room with a sweeping wine tower, to four exquisite specialty restaurants, to several stylish, casual venues.
•An entirely new category of accommodations, “AquaClass,” designed to offer a spa vacation experience at sea rivaling the best of those on land.
•Apple Mac minis with 32-inch flat-panel displays that allows guests to researve shore excursions, watch on-demand movies, purchase photos, and listen to a music library with thousands of songs
•A state-of-the-art theater and stage design, with three new leading-edge shows custom-designed for Celebrity with Poet Theatricals, in their first cruise line partnership.
•Over $6 million of artwork graces the staterooms and halls and even crew quarters•Eight panoramic lifts offer incredible views of the atrium and the live potted tree that is suspended above the Grand Foyer (yes, there is a tree growing under the top-of-ship grass…).
•Get around onboard is easy. Most of the restaurants are located in one area, and most of the nightlife in another. There are enough places to "hide" away, read a book or enjoy a drink. This ship does not feel crowded.Grand Epernay, the magnificent and luxurious main dining room of Celebrity Solstice.

Dining
First, there are more dining options than found on most ships: 10 dining venues onboard Celebrity Solstice, including Grand Epernay, the magnificent and luxurious main dining room of Celebrity Solstice. With a two-story glass wine tower ( waiters climb the tower for select vintages). and dazzling chandeliers, this quintessential dining area has a decidedly Hollywood aura. The Grand Epernay was designed by Adam Tihany the designer of Le Cirque in New York.

Serving savory World & Continental cuisine, complete with Celebrity's famed European-style service. Grand Epernay is open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner; check out the two-story glass wine tower. At the buffet-styled Oceanview Café you no longer queue up in a long line, but roam through circular islands, where there's hardly ever a crowd.

Specialty Restaurants
Murano, offers savory multi-course meals featuring a blend of Classic and Modern continental cuisines. A superb wine list. this alternative restaurant concept has a per-person up-charge is $30. Otherwise, three brand-new alternative venues are clustered in a dining "complex" of sorts at the aft end of the ship on Deck 5. The Tuscan Grille offers a great view overlooking the ship's wake; The ultimate grill experience at sea is what you'll find at Tuscan Grille, our sophisticated steakhouse and specialty restaurant. Savor fine Italian wines and panoramic views along with your Caesar salad, made tableside. Tuscan Grille has an up-charge of $25.

Silk Harvest is an Asian-fusion restaurant. Enjoy the cuisines of Vietnam, Thailand, Japan, China and India, served family-style, with built-in lazy-susans and small plates perfect for sharing. The up-charge cost is $20 per person. Blu, is available at no cost exclusively to AquaClass guests (though suite guests can request reservations based on availability; a $5 gratuity is recommended). This specialty restaurant is the exclusive dining venue for all AquaClassSM guests, serving healthy fare in a sophisticated and soothing atmosphere. Bistro is open for casual dining; breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Cafe al Bacio & Gelateria is Solstice's answer to the upscale coffee bar, serving specialty coffees and teas, pastries, and gelato. Cellarmasters brings to life the experience of a global wine tour while you learn about and taste a large variety of wines from around the world. A welcoming and unique on board environment, you'll discover new wines, receive recommendations and enrich your knowledge of the world of wine. Gelataria scoops up Italy's famous ice cream.

By the pool, The Mast Grill and Bar serves typical outdoor picnic like fare : tacos, nachos, hot dogs, brats, burgers, and french fries. Room service, available 24 hours a day, offers sandwiches, burgers, salads and snacks. The indoor pool makes the perfect place to relax.

Entertainment
The Sky Lounge offers floor-to-ceiling windows and a panoramic view, day or night. Quasar, is equipped with all the state-of-the-art lighting and sound equipment. Spread out around the ship, there can be up to a dozen musical groups – everything from big band, jazz ,classical guitar and new age vocals.There are two main theatres: one seating more than 1,000 with three distinct shows – each celebrating the virtues of light – one with circus acrobatics, one with Broadway show tunes and the third called a "vocal and motion spectacular." For a bit more intimate experience, visit the 200-seat Celebrity Central, a cozy place featuring comedians and solo artists. On the maiden voyage, popular comic Kevin Flynn entertained guests.

More.
There are lots of pools, and the hot-tubs with therapeutic massage jets. There's also one outdoor pool for family fun and another indoors for those over 16 only. The Solarium, an indoor pool and main pool feature waterfalls and dancing water fountains. The pools offer creatively decorated privacy areas. Guests can relax in comfort. You will find loungers, plush ottomans, and even a few hammocks.

There's a fully equipped exercise room, a first-rate styling salon and a complete spa facility.You can also explore the dozens of boutiques and stores or win or lose at the casino.

Personal enrichments abound. Wine tastings, dance lessons, computers to go online or connect your laptop via wireless in your suite. Don't forget to view the Hot Glass Show and the Planet Earth environmental exhibit.

Going Green, Sort of...
Solstice uses solar power, in a limited way. There are 216 solar panels and the energy collected is enough to operate 7,000 of the vessel's 25,000 energy efficient LED lights. The ship's hull design and special coating make it more dynamic, which equals less fuel consumption and less carbon emissions.

Accommodations
With Solstice, Celebrity has introduced a whole new category of staterooms: A brand new class of staterooms on Celebrity Solstice, AquaClass brings a tranquil, relaxing atmosphere into your stateroom, while providing unlimited access to many of the AquaSpa® amenities. These deluxe staterooms are 245 square feet with the balcony. AquaClass guests get extra bathroom amenities including a teeth whitening kit, slippers, large bath sheets and Frette robes.
AquaClass Indulgences:
•Welcome champagne
•Daily fruit selection
•Fresh-cut flowers
•Daily hors d'oeuvres
•Unlimited access to the AquaSpa relaxation room and the Persian Garden
•Complimentary daily bottled water and iced tea
•Special programming and wellness classes
•Menu of pillows-Conformance, Body, Goose, and Isotonic®
•Duvets and pillow-top mattresses•Leather key holder, personalized stationery and a tote bag, Frette bathrobes
•Hansgrohe® showerhead
•VIP invitations to events
•Early embarkation and debarkation
•Dining and seating preference. Guaranteed access to Blu Restaurant for breakfast and dinner
•Preference on shore excursions. A dedicated spa concierge is available to assist AquaClass guests with bookings and purchases.
•Express luggage delivery•Shoeshine service

Solstice accommodations also feature family verandah staterooms, a huge 575 square feet. (balconies range in size, from 53 to 105 square ft.). The bedroom is separate from the living room, which is equipped with fold-out sofa; there's also an are just big enough for twin bunks. There are four of these staterooms onboard, and they can easily accommodate a family of six -- but all staterooms are shower-only.

Celebrity Solstice's staterooms are about 15 percent larger than those on other ships. 85% of all staterooms feature balconies and all are outfitted with flat-panel monitors attached to Mac minis, internet access and you can order shore excursions and in-room dining from your stateroom. Suites start from 405 square ft. for Sky Suites to over 1,600 square ft. for a Penthouse Suite . Book a suite and you get butler-service such as packing and unpacking; full in-cabin service for breakfast, lunch and dinner; and free espresso and cappuccino.

What about the kids?
Celebrity Solstice -- has no kiddy pool, but does have a long list of youth activities centered around two venues, one for teens and another for all the other kids. Entertainment including: arcade with video games, a teen disco and juice bar staffed by trained youth counselors. Celebrity's youth program X-Club offers five programs: Toddler Time (under 3), Ship Mates (3 to 6), Celebrity Cadets (7 to 9), Ensigns (10 to 12) and Admiral T's (13 to 17), with separate activities planned for each age group. Youth dinners are offered every day.

Best Said.
Among the many accolades the ship has already received: "My own view -- and one widely held by other cruise writers and travel agents on board: The hype is justified. Solstice is, simply, one of the most comfortably stylish ships on the seas. It's a premium ship -- that's to say, it aims at upscale ambiance, dining and service, but without the super-high price of true luxury cruising. And it hits the mark." - Jane Wooldridge, Miami Herald

Where do you want to go?
Celebrity Solstice presents 7-night Eastern Caribbean cruises roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale until April 2009, with visits to San Juan, St. Maarten, Tortola, Haiti, and St. Kitts, depending on the itinerary. Celebrity Solstice sets sail on a transatlantic voyage from Fort Lauderdale April 19, 2009, ending in Rome, where the ship will offer a series of roundtrip 10- and 11- night Eastern Mediterranean sailings. Caribbean prices begin at $599 per person. Mediterranean cruises begin at $1,349 per person.

Celebrity Solstice is one of five Celebrity ships presenting enchanting Mediterranean and Northern Europe cruise vacations in 2009.Celebrity sails in Alaska, Australia/New Zealand, California, Canada/New England, the Caribbean, Europe, Galapagos Islands, Hawaii, the Pacific Coast, Panama Canal and South America. The line also offers unique cruisetour vacations in Alaska, Australia, Canada, Europe and South America. Noted for four of the top 10 "Top Cruise Ships in the World" in the large-ship category, as voted by the readers of Conde Nast Traveler (February 2008 readers' poll), Celebrity's fleet - including the new Celebrity Solstice - will be joined by Celebrity Equinox in 2009, Celebrity Eclipse in 2010, a fourth Solstice-class ship in 2011, and a fifth in 2012

For more information about Celebrity Solstice, visit www.cruisereviewsonline.com

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